Skip to main content
Go to accessibility options


    Frederick A. Weld Whaling Group Including a Ship's Log, Ledger, and an 1839 Chart of New Zealand. Captain Fred Weld was born and raised in Guilford, Connecticut in 1820. He spent most of his life on the sea, signing on as a cabin boy and eventually working his way up to captain. The items featured here were once included as part of an exhibit at the town of Guilford's historical society, along with an essay (included here) detailing Weld's life and travels.

    Most notably included is Weld's whaling log for the ship "Italy of Greenport Long Island," which begins on August 6, 1849 and ends on April 23, 1851. The book measures 8" x 13.5"; Weld has sewn in an additional 54 pages at the end to make a total of 98 pages of tightly scripted entries logging distances, conditions, and whale sightings. The notebook also includes two small hand drawn maps of St. Paul's Islands with whale tails added to illustrate the locations of whale sightings. The maps have been pasted in on the first and third page.

    Although the log's entries are not illustrated with whale stamps, Weld makes careful notes of all whales sighted and "taken". In an entry dated December 30, 1849, Captain Weld writes: "... fine weather at 4 AM saw whales supposed to be sperm whales lag by [illeg.] daylight at 6 AM raised them and in lowering ... my Boat the hoisting strop broke which caused the boat to go down wrd wise saved the boat and cross the other boats soon returned on board at 9 AM saw the same whales as we supposed struck and killed. Ends fine weather ..." Weld's entries include good detail in all regards. Uneven toning throughout, and heavy damage to spine. All pages remain legible.

    Accompanying the log is a chart titled, "To the Right Honble Thos Spring Rice... This Chart of New Zealand from Original Surveys..." 24" x 34.5", engraved by James Wyld, London, 1839. With inset maps of entrance of the Hokianga River, Southern Port of Stewart's Island, plan of Dusky Bay, and plan of the entrance to Port Manoukao. Hand colored outline in faint red. Map has heavy soiling and creasing, with a few areas of paper loss. With stitched bunting at all margins, likely used by Weld.

    This archive also includes a second ledger dating from the late 19th Century, unrelated but likely belonging to another Weld family member. A brief period handwritten biography lists Weld's career, including his first voyage: "1835 June 29, sailed on his 1st voyage in Ship American of Sag Harbor, Wm S.. Jones Capt. Went as Cabin Boy, 15 yrs of age." A unique and complete group, identified to a known whaling captain.

    Additional entries made by Captain Weld:

    Saturday, January 5th 1850
    Commences gentle breezes from the S.E. and pleasant watches employed in hooping off provisions. Middle and Latter port gentle breezes from the S.E. and pleasant watches Employed in coopering oil and provisions. Course N.W. spoke ship Charles Frederick of New Bedford Barnes master 39 mos. out. 1800 bbls
    [barrels] pf sperm oil and 100 of Black. Sent a letter home to the Idol of my heart (my wife).
    Lat Obst 25 " 05 Long 85 " 00

    Saturday June 1st 1850
    First Port light airs from the N.N.E. steerng along the coast to the S at 8 P.M. calm and light as from various ways the land dist 3 mils and the Ice dist. 1 1/2 mile no passage thro the ice to East and find as we
    [ap]proach South any forth tack ship and towed out opposite a deep bag and here we are in a clear spot say some 8 miles - the land is miles dist and the ice close on board to the East 8 ships in to the South completely blocked with the Ice and B to the South bound South the Henry Rueld in Company with us during the night light airs from the N.E. mak short tacks below the Ice and shore working North Salter port...

    Saturday April 13th 1850
    Commenced gentle breezes from the SW and pleasant thro the night light breezes from various ways and showing latter part brisk breezes from the N.N.E. and clear and pleasant course. N.W. watches employed in breaking the lower hold for water saw a few humpback whales.

    Monday April 22 /50
    Commenced gentle breezes from the S.W. and pleasant steering NNW thro the night fresh breezes from the West to N.W. and pleasant -- :atter port fresh breezes fromt he NW and squalls of snow steering by the wind North saw 3 Right whales and chased...

    Tuesday July 2 1850
    Begins with fresh breezes fron the Eastward and rainy heading to the North under short sail employed in stowing down oil. Latter port light airs from the Eastward and rainy saw one whale going fast south Ship heading north.
    Lat obs 63 " 50 Longitude 178 " 30 West

    Thursday July 4 1850
    First port calm and foggy. Middle port light airs from the S.E. steering E.N.E. Latter port light airs from South at 8 A.M. clears up saw many whales struck two Irons drawd Ends no whales this day for us.

    Lat obs 64 " 24 Long 177 " 30 West

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2010
    11th-12th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 9
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 3,020

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

    Sold on Feb 11, 2010 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item